Alienated Americans

A discussion of the themes of isolation and violence in Aflred Hitchcock’s film Psycho

This paper explores the role of isolation in Aflred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror film “Psycho”. It argues that it is through rejection from general society that Marion is pushed to the criminal act of theft, while Norman Bates isolation from American society turns him into a serial killer. It implies that the increasing isolation of individuals in American culture was an anxiety held by many in the 1950s and 1960s and how that disconnection could turn any one to violence and crime. The paper is based on both the film and an article by Thomas Hemmeter (referenced in the works cited).
“Since Marion is Norman’s doppelganger it is not surprising that her situation, that of social isolation, parallels his. The physical representation of Marion’s entrapment is the confined spaces in which she resides. The hotel room where she meets Sam Loomis (John Gavin), her lover, is bland, she shares office space with another secretary, Caroline (Patricia Hitchcock), her sister, Lila Crane (Vera Miles), shares a tiny, impersonal apartment with her, and Marion spends the rest of the film either in a car, at the Bates Motel, and finally the most claustrophobic space of them all, the shower.”